Originally enacted in 1974, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) is the only federal program exclusively dedicated to the prevention, assessment, identification, and treatment of child abuse and neglect. CAPTA protects vulnerable children by providing critical funding for programs that aid healthy child development and reduce the likelihood of more serious problems in the future. CAPTA helps children and families in all 50 states through services such as evidence-based voluntary home visiting programs, early childhood and child care programs, mental and substance use services, family resource centers, and respite and crisis care, among many other valuable resources. CAPTA is also the only legislation that addresses universal primary prevention capacity building at a local level, supporting services essential to healthy and thriving communities.
On May 20, CAPTA reauthorization passed in the US House of Representatives with unanimous consent. Additionally, 28 senators have signed a bipartisan request for increased funding for CAPTA. These are monumental achievements, but the race isn’t over—adequate funding for this legislation is far from assured. Currently, CAPTA is funded at less than half its authorized level of $200 million. The Senate Appropriations Committee is determining CAPTA funding right now, with final markup expected in early June.
We need your help! Contact your senator today—and mobilize your network to do the same—and request that funding for CAPTA be increased to $1 billion; $500 million for Title I and $500 million for Title II provisions. Let your representatives know that the well-being of our nation’s children depends on them, and their support for CAPTA will be the impetus for healthier children and stronger families and communities across the nation.
Here’s what you can do if your senator sits on the Appropriations Committee (see directory below):
1. Contact your senator today.
Use the Senate Appropriations Committee directory at the bottom of this page to identify and contact your senator, or call the congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected with your senator.
When you reach your senator’s receptionist, identify yourself as a constituent—clearly stating your name and state/town/city where you live—and ask to speak to him/her directly. You may be transferred to a legislative assistant/aide, or you may be asked to leave a voice message or send an email, which is fine, but ask to be connected directly to your senator if possible. Be persistent but polite.
What to say:
When speaking or leaving/sending a message, be sure to identify yourself as a constituent—again, clearly stating your name and state/town/city where you live—and state: “I’m asking you to appropriate $1 billion to fully fund the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).” Feel free to elaborate using the sample messages below. Thank them for their time. Repeat this process at least once for each of your senators, if applicable.
Sample message #1: Fully fund CAPTA
The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) is currently funded at less than half its authorized level of $200 million, a drop in the bucket compared to the public dollars spent after neglect or abuse has occurred. Additionally, substance abuse caused by the opioid crisis, which leads to the removal of children from their parents, has resulted in a rise in the number foster care placements for five consecutive years. I’m asking you to increase CAPTA’s funding to $1 billion annually, appropriating $500 million to both Title I and Title II. Your support for CAPTA will be the impetus for healthier children and stronger families and communities across the nation.
Sample message #2: Fully funding CAPTA makes good sense economically
In the US, the total lifetime economic burden associated with child maltreatment is approximately $2 trillion, rivaling the cost of other high-profile public health crises, such as stroke and type two diabetes. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) can change that. Prevention services strengthen families by improving knowledge of child development and parenting strategies. These services also increase upward mobility and enable families to achieve self-sufficiency. Ultimately, they give families the tools they need to help nurture the next generation. It’s urgent that CAPTA be fully funded today—increase CAPTA’s funding to $1 billion annually, appropriating $500 million to both Title I and Title II. The well-being of our nation’s children depends on you.
Sample message #3: Focus on building healthier communities
The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) helps children and families in all 50 states through services such as evidence-based voluntary home visiting programs, early childhood and child care programs, and mental and substance use services, among many other valuable resources. We must re-envision support to states and localities for prevention services and infrastructure through Title I funding and Title II Community Based Child Abuse Prevention (CB-CAP) grants. I’m asking you to fully fund CAPTA today—appropriating $500 million to both Title I and Title II. Your support protects vulnerable children by providing critical funding for programs that aid healthy child development, strengthen communities across the country, and reduce the likelihood of more serious problems in the future.
2. Encourage family and friends to join you.
We all play a role. Reach out to relatives and your social and professional circles and urge them to contact their representatives, too—start by forwarding the URL to this web page (https://preventchildabuse.org/latest-activity/capta-action-alert/) to five family members or friends and encourage them to call or write.
3. Spread the word on social media.
Take 5 minutes to show your support on social media and encourage others to take action, too. Follow Prevent Child Abuse America (@PCAAmerica on Twitter; @preventchildabuseamerica on Facebook) and share our posts/tweets, or create your own using the samples below. In addition to raising awareness throughout your network, Twitter is a great way to contact your representatives—contact information for members of the Appropriations Committee can be found at: https://twitter.com/SenateApprops/lists/senate-approps-dems?lang=en and https://twitter.com/SenateGOP/lists/senaterepublicans/members?lang=en. Be sure to tag your representative and Prevent Child Abuse America and include these hashtags when posting/tweeting: #CAPTA #PreventChildAbuse #StrengthenFamilies #HealthyChildhoods
Additionally, here’s the link to a letter of support, signed by 54 CEOs, requesting the reauthorization of CAPTA, which was presented to members of Congress during in-person meetings last week…feel free to share it with your networks on social media, too:
#CAPTA expired in 2015—now’s the time for Congress to act! Fully fund CAPTA to #PreventChildAbuse, #StrengthenFamilies, and ensure #HealthyChildhoods @PCAAmerica
Congress must act NOW to support families & children across America—fully fund #CAPTA today! #PreventChildAbuse #StrengthenFamilies #HealthyChildhoods @PCAAmerica
#CAPTA helps fund programs that #PreventChildAbuse and #StrengthenFamilies in all 50 states. Invest in [YOUR STATE]’s future. Fully fund and reauthorize CAPTA today! @PCAAmerica
Sample Facebook post:
I support the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (#CAPTA), which improves child health and development and helps to #StrengthenFamilies and empower communities across the country. Call your senator today and ask him/her to fully fund CAPTA at $1 billion to ensure #HealthyChildhoods and #PreventChildAbuse…follow the link to learn how: https://preventchildabuse.org/latest-activity/capta-action-alert/ @PCAAmerica
4. Stay tuned for updates and additional ways you can get involved.
United States Senate Committee on Appropriations
(Alphabetically by state)
Sen. Richard Shelby (Chairman, Majority Leader, R–Alabama)
Legislative assistant: Andrew Burnett
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R–Alaska)
Legislative aide: Anna Dietderich
Sen. John Boozman (R–Arkansas)
Chief of staff: Toni-Marie Higgins
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–California)
Legislative assistant: Elisabeth Fox
Sen. Chris Murphy (D–Connecticut)
Legislative director: David Bonine
Sen. Chris Coons (D–Delaware)
Policy advisor: David Brown
Sen. Marco Rubio (R–Florida)
Legislative assistant: Thomas Boodry
Sen. Brian Schatz (D–Hawaii)
Legislative counsel: Lenna Aoki
Sen. Richard Durbin (D–Illinois)
Legislative director: Corey Tellez
Sen. Jerry Moran (R–Kansas)
Legislative assistant: Kyle Christian
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R–Kentucky)
Legislative assistant: Max Richards
Sen. John Kennedy (R–Louisiana)
Legislative assistant: Marcie Smith
Sen. Susan Collins (R–Maine)
Legislative assistant: Katie Brown
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D–Maryland)
Health policy advisor: Alyssa Penna
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R–Mississippi)
Senior policy advisor: Tim Everett
Sen. Roy Blunt (R–Missouri)
Chief of staff: Stacy Mcbride
Sen. Steve Daines (R–Montana)
Chief of staff: Jason Thielman
Sen. Jon Tester (D–Montana)
Legislative assistant: Dylan Laslovich
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D–New Hampshire)
Legislative assistant: Peter Fise
Sen. Tom Udall (D–New Mexico)
Legislative assistant: Lauren Arias
Sen. John Hoeven (R–North Dakota)
Legislative aide: Caitlan Flis
Sen. James Lankford (R–Oklahoma)
Legislative director: Sarah Seitz
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D–Oregon)
Legislative director: Louie Reckford
Sen. Jack Reed (D–Rhode Island)
Senior policy advisor: Moira Lenehan-Razzuri
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–South Carolina)
Senior advisor: Nick Myers
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R–Tennessee)
Legislative assistant: Nathan Thomas
Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vice Chairman, Minority Leader, D–Vermont)
Senior health & education advisor: Kathryn Toomajian
Sen. Patty Murray (D–Washington)
Education policy director: Kara Marchione
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R–West Virginia)
Senior policy advisor: Dana Richter
Sen. Joe Manchin (D–West Virginia)
Legislative assistant: TJ Lucas
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D–Wisconsin)
Legislative assistant: Rachael Kauss
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